Solar power tax breaks set to expire

Workers install solar panels.

ADRIENE HILL:
The president of the electronics company Sharp,
is looking to move more solar-panel production out of Japan.

He told the Wall Street Journal, the company's planning to follow demand. Here in the US the future of that demand is up in the air. Some federal incentives for renewable energy are set to expire by December.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: At the Solar Energy Industries Association, Rhone Resch says the U.S. gets 20 times more electricity from the sun than it did five years ago. And the market's set to double again this year.

Rhone Resch: Adding somewhere around 33,000 new jobs.

Growth took off two years ago, when the feds changed a 30 percent tax incentive to a cash grant and guaranteed loans for large solar projects. Both those measures expire this year, attractive cuts for a tight budget. Resch says that scares investors.

David Victor at the University of California, San Diego, says solar companies are stuck between story lines.

David Victor: On the one hand, they're trying to argue that they're growing really rapidly, and a sign that the industry's viable. On the other hand, if the subsidies were removed completely, the industry would collapse. It's a tiny fraction of the energy system.

Some solar subsidies are set to continue. But long-term, the U.S. solar market remains partly cloudy.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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